Drowning out the voices in my head

There is something going on with me that I am failing to understand. You’d have thought that, as a Bipolar sufferer, I would be used to a lack of understanding but no – it still troubles me. I’m deep within what seems to be a prolonged low mood culminating in a debilitating lack of motivation to get out of bed, wash, talk or keep up with household duties. My social anxiety is reaching critical levels which in turn serves a large dish of paranoia and feelings of alienation and loneliness. I feel as though I am wading through gelatinous water; everything is sluggish, wrong and grimy… My mind is a swamp of fears, worries and endless scenarios of failure both real and imagined; my past mistakes are on repeat in the movie theatre of my mind – there is no exit, no off switch in sight. I have no drive or desire to fight my way out of this one, though I also have no desire to live this way. My appearance upsets me, I am not taking care of myself and I simply cannot find the energy nor the will to fix that. My house is falling down around me, my responsibilities are gaining weight and I am buckling under the self-inflicted pressure. I am edging towards the precipice of insanity and the fall looks appealing from here. The farce, the face of ‘I’m ok’ is in full force, indicating the harsh nature of this particular episode; I have isolated myself, there is no help and I don’t want any. Let me revel in my misery, let me give up.

How can I begin to fight when these are the things my treacherous mind is telling me? This is the vortex of woe encapsulating my every thought. Where can I find the will to move, to live, to breathe? Depression lies,! I know this – I say this to others, but it doesn’t help because something in me, the illness in me, wants this and oh wouldn’t it be so much easier to crumble; not at all more pleasant but so much easier. Can I really see myself managing in this way for the rest of my life? No, it’s not sustainable, this is no way to live; I can’t cope.

I want to scream at people about how hard this is, I want them to understand my pain and the weight of insanity pressing upon me. Am I just one surge of hormones away from the edge? I want to feel sorry for myself but I don’t want sympathy, I want understanding without pity… I want the impossible, I want to be normal; I want to be able to have a bar of chocolate without craving ten others because I have a really messed up relationship with food, I want to be able to go to sleep without having to meditate for 2 hours or to know, without doubt or fear, that I can stay awake for the entire day, I want to be normal! I don’t want to live this way, I want to be like everyone else, I want to be able to do things without having to think about how it might affect my illness, I want to live without having to pander to mental illness first.

I miss my therapist. Our last session was on Tuesday and already I am in physical pain from the loss. I feel as though I have lost a limb, a vital part of my coping mechanism and it has thrown me. I can’t do this.

I feel as though I am at a crossroads, I know it is rather cliché but there is a choice about to be made that is suspending me in a temporary limbo – I can either miraculously find the will to carry on, move forward and manage this bitch of an illness or I can fall into the warm embrace of nothingness; never to return. Somehow I need to find the appeal in moving forward.

What is the point of me? I’ve asked this question so many times in my life; perhaps everyone does at some point in their lives. I don’t see the point in me, beyond being a mother to my children I am nothing. I do nothing. Can I find something to make myself feel worthwhile, whilst battling my mind? This disease seems to take all of me, I have nothing left to be somebody as well. So what is the point?

I am almost 28 years old, can I really fight this thing for the rest of my life? and just how long is that life likely to be when I am attached indefinitely to a plethora of medications? and will I always be alone? who could ever knowingly choose to live with me and my illness?

So many questions, not an answer in sight. I once wrote a poem with a very apt line to describe this post ‘…puddles of emotion pooling at my feet…’ but hopefully, things can only get better…

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The importance of finding peace…

The ever elusive, peace – Peace in ones very being, a little tranquillity amongst the noise of life, quiet, calm, content… peace.

I think we all endeavour to find it, though it can be hard to remember the importance of finding peace- life gets a little bit too much, there are bills due that we worry about paying, the kids want/need a million things that you can’t give them, people are leaving/getting sick/old/dying and we must move with those great changes within our lives, something unexpected is thrown at us and shakes our resolve, relationships are forged and lost, money is worked for and spent, time passes, we age and responsibility becomes a crushing weight; so we look for peace, a little reprieve from all the commotion. We all find peace in different things, music, nature, television, silence, reading… If it calms you, if it softens the blow of your troubles and woes then it is peace, it is worthwhile and it is needed.

It is no easy task to discover what calms you and I think perhaps your needs change as you grow and as your responsibilities broaden but when you finally do discover what brings you peace you will crave it with all your being and open your heart to it at every given opportunity. My peace is my selfishness; perhaps I should find peace in my children but I do not. I love them with all of my being and I find joy in watching them grow but there is no peace for me in raising children, only worry for their futures, only stress about what is right… Perhaps I should find comfort in those around me, lending an ear and a shoulder but I don’t. Their company and understanding is a great gift to me, I am grateful to the point of feeling indebted to them and so I hold myself back, I release my personality in small doses, stress, worry, fear of loss…

My peace comes from the night time; how I wish it was normal to function only at night. Gazing at the stars lends perspective to my problems, it grounds me in a way nothing else can – does it solve anything? no, but my world seems a smaller, a more manageable place with the stars watching. I find peace in the smell of night time; people often give me a puzzled look when I say this to them but there is a freshness to the air at night that awakens everything within me, it invigorates me and I feel ready to take on all that is thrown at me; no it won’t give me any answers to my problems but I have the drive to find those answers. I find peace in the wind, feeling nature beat against my skin once again reminds me of how insignificant my woes are and nothing seems so impossible to solve. I like to meditate, my mind can often be a place of great noise and so to empty it – or even just attempt to can be incredibly therapeutic. Writing this blog brings me peace, it organises the many thoughts racing around my mind and leaves peace in its wake.

We tend to ridicule the pursuit of peace, but why? We have all gazed upon the stars, we have all dreamt of better days, we are all searching for that awe inspiring thing that gifts us with a little perspective, we all crave a little quiet. My noise, the noise of worries and stress, pressure and life in general, is both in my head and out of it and so I must pursue peace more vigorously, I must find things that reach deep within but we are all moving towards the same goal, peace, calm, tranquillity.

Today I need peace. Today I need to find calm, the problems weigh heavy upon me and there seems to be no way forward, no way out – my mind is desperate, my emotions rampant and so I will search for peace to remind myself of what I am fighting for, to gift myself with a little perspective and to save myself from giving up.

Pulling your soul up

Relapse be damned!

Yesterday was my final session of therapy, I am released, I have been taught all I can be, help in the form of conversation has gone as far as they’re willing to take it; though if there was an option for permanent therapy I defiantly would have accepted it. I will miss my therapist, we have forged a bond – or perhaps only I have – that is based on such painful honesty, compassion and understanding that I feel rather bereft at the loss of it. I was also given the choice to terminate my contact with my OTA who has been taking me out and about (apparently I have made remarkable progress there too) I am getting tired of people telling me how well I’m doing when it all just feels like more of the same torture to me. Management alone does not seem like a long-term plan to me, it is not maintainable – I will fall, I will crumble. It makes me want to rebel; show them all how crazy I can be…

I made the decision to keep seeing my OTA for outings, even though he clearly does not feel he can help me anymore than he has I feel it would be rather silly to lose two figures of support at once; leaving me with just my psychiatrist, who quite frankly aggravates the hell out of me!

My psychiatrist is considering changing my medication; I have been on Venlafaxine for the duration of my therapy – initially I felt it made a fair difference to how I was feeling and even now I would credit it with lessening my anxiety symptoms, though as I have learnt more about my illness I am less and less convinced that it has been effective in helping with my swinging moods. Mood stabilisers seem to be the way forward, an ironic shift from where I began, determined not to live beholden to any medications but logically I have come to terms with the likelihood that this is the only safe way forward for me. As my therapist said though, these are large drugs and psychiatrists do not dole them out without a lot of thought and care – leading to a frustrating amount of waiting for the crazy lady! Though I will push for mood stabilisers I am also absolutely petrified of them; I’m scared of losing the dramatic moods that I am so used to and feeling dead inside, I’m scared of the side affects and most of all I am terrified of the period of time where my moods will be swinging dangerously whilst we struggle to find the correct doses and experiment with different combinations.

I will fight this illness as much as I possibly can (when I can remember that its worth fighting!) but the fight of one person will never be enough to conquer.

I will try to fix you…

When people with addictions go through rehabilitation they always seem to be warned of the inevitability of a relapse, a collapse of the will power so carefully constructed against their specific compulsion and though Bipolar disorder is not an addiction it does hold the same crushing likelihood of a relapse into illness. These past couple of weeks have been my relapse, not my first, just one of many and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The Easter holiday plan that I had hoped so fervently would serve as my salvation from the hellish routine free holidays was left by the way-side, I did not look at it, nor did I follow my scheduled wake up time or bed time and so not only is my Bipolar disorder swinging like a cat in a rather large room but my body clock is also way out of sync culminating in a whole lot of crazy, irritability, anxiety and very little function!

There are excuses I could give you as to why I did not follow my plan, there are reasons I could dish out for my relapse; there were a lot of big family events to attend, I had a psychological assessment, my psychiatrist and I didn’t see eye to eye, I forgot to take my meds one day, my landlord has been attempting to contact me but I am too anxious to answer the phone at the moment, my paranoia led me to believe that my very close friend didn’t like me anymore for a great portion of time… but in all honesty despite all of these events and feelings I don’t know why I have crumbled so fully. The events of the past two weeks have been stressful but that’s just life, isn’t it? I need to learn to cope with these things, will I ever learn to cope with these things?

I know my moods will even out when the kids go back to school tomorrow and I am forced back into a routine but I am furious at myself for this lapse in control and also petrified of being on this edge once again because, however dramatic it may sound, I know that should I fall into the deep blackness of a psychotic episode once again then I most assuredly would never be coming back.

It is painfully difficult to manage this bitch of an illness every time I feel as though I have made some progress and I’m ready to congratulate myself for some accomplishment I seem to let something else slip and everything smashes around my feet. All of the people around me keep saying it will get better in time, it’ll be easier to manage, it’ll be like second nature one day and they’re probably right but that doesn’t make me feel any better now and it doesn’t make this battle seem worthwhile. I feel as though I am fighting a war that will never be won… There should be protests in my head about the futile nature of this war! This will never go away, I will never conquer this illness yet should I ever stop fighting this endless war and embrace it; I will lose, as so many have done before me. I’m tired of working for acceptance, of striving to convince others of what I have problems believing myself, of accepting a piece of my nature only to realise it is a symptom of my illness, I’m tired of fighting an invisible beast… I’m just tired. Don’t tell me I’m strong – I’m not strong, I’m so tired…

Who am I, if not my illness? Every moment of every day is consumed with the management of this illness, maybe there is nothing of me left.